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Ash Pest Returns Early; Residents Told To Delay Pruning

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In Minnesota, emerald ash borers usually strike the first of May, but not this year. They’re actually striking now. Our warm spring has brought the tree killing beetle earlier than usual.

Now, residents are being asked to stop pruning their Ash trees, so more don’t die from a disease, like Randi Honigman’s tree did.

“Oh, when they came that day, I couldn’t watch,” said Honigman, recalling that afternoon at her home on Upton Avenue five years ago.

Honigam says no more trees should die from the disease. It’s a voice of concern echoed by State officials and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board officials.

“That’s how Emerald Ash Borer works. It spreads by people moving it around,” said Ralph Sievert with the Board.

Sievert knows it’s legal to continue pruning trees, but he also knows pruning has a price.

“You can take a branch off, move it somewhere within the quarantine county that we’re in, and inadvertently be helping the beetle spread to a new location,” he said.

So that’s why State officials believe stopping pruning now for the summer will limit the spread of the small, killer beetle among Minneapolis and Minnesota trees.

Officials don’t want you to start pruning again till Labor Day, when the adult beetle isn’t active anymore.

“The slower the growth of the population, the better off we’re all going to be,” said Sievert.

And the better chance Minneapolis’ 35,000 Ash trees can survive.

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